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TToT: The Time of the Ostriches and A Kingdom of Hedges – Red Thunder #10Thankful

“Open your eyes, and see what you can with them, before they close forever.”

—All The Light We Cannot See

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for a beautiful day of perfect spring weather.

As I headed toward the hospital, for a medical test, I felt the gentle, pleasant breeze of a mid May day on my cheek.

I wished the test could be done outside, before the day progressed and the temperature warmed any.

I’m thankful for Canada’s medical system, even when I’d rather be anywhere else.

It’s this ERG eye test I had done back in February and, instead of hearing the results a month later, I received a call that I was to come back in. It needed to be repeated, and it wasn’t clear the reason for the order.

So, here I was and I was sitting back in that chair, drops in my eyes, and having to look into the bright light and try not to blink.

I tried to get an answer, from my doctor in the same building, but he was in doing some sort of laser procedure.

I didn’t want to have to go through the discomfort again, if it had been all in error, but I couldn’t find out what the deal was, so I went through it once more.

It causes headaches to have to keep my eyes open in that penetrating brightness. Still, whatever this test shows finally, I am glad to have access to the facilities and the doctors and the equipment that isn’t available everywhere.

I’m thankful for a successful return to my violin lessons, after a bit of a hiatus.

My teacher was finishing up her degree in music and her final solo performance. Then I was off to British Columbia and just having returned.

It isn’t good to be away from the structure and guidance of a lesson, for me, for too long. Yet, I return and am not so far behind with it all as I always fear I’ll be.

I am glad my teacher is patient and helpful. She makes it easier in all its toughness.

I’m thankful for some more global accessibility awareness.

There’s a day for everything, but this one was Global Accessibility Awareness Day and I am writing this on my talking laptop and reading electronic braille.

Hopefully, more of the world is coming to understand about what makes an accessible society, for as many people as possible. That isn’t easy, but just thinking and an effort made is nice to see.

I’m thankful for a little love in the world.

I was up with a bad headache and I was glad to hear about the love that was present at that royal wedding.

It has no bearing on my life, what Harry and Meghan do, but I am glad of a little extra love and I celebrate that. With all the horrors going on in the world, I celebrate this love and light.

I’m thankful for music at weddings, especially this
young cellist.

I’m thankful for the treasure that is my older sister.

She is tough and good humoured. She has created the most beautiful family and I am lucky to be a part of that, in any way.

She is steady and reliably there for me. As sister relationships go, ours has had relatively few bumps, as I hear of all the fighting between grown siblings.

We will always have each other and I hold that truth close.

I’m thankful for a lovely celebration dinner out, by the river, with family.

My mom found a restaurant, in an old building, by a river with toads and such.

We enjoyed a delicious meal and my nephew watched the creatures and critters outside the window as we waited for our food to arrive. He enjoyed finding a toad by the river after we’d eaten.

I’m thankful for the neighbourhood I live in.

For a holiday like Canada celebrating the queen of England who was on the thrown during the formation of the country, there’s always a lot of commotion all around where I live.

I may not always participate fully in the events, but I enjoy hearing it going on around me.

I’m thankful for the sounds of the season (spring) I hear out my window.

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Bucket List, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Special Occasions, Spotlight Sunday

The Summer of My Dreams, #FTSF

I’m visiting with my old friend and, somehow, we end up running into another, a reunion thought to likely never happen.

Then, yet another old friend meets up with us, we go swimming, and end up in water which starts to become wavy. We try to get out, but a bunch of slippery, soggy dolphin-like creatures begin to drop into the water and I am taken aback, before getting bitten by one of them as I struggle to get onto land again.

I’m back in the old friend’s house, like we’re kids once more, but different somehow.

Then I am with a boyfriend (a lot like an actual ex) who speaks about how it is to date a woman who is blind, as people we pass when we’re out comment. I have a guide dog in there somewhere.

Then we’re at a party, with lots of relatives, and he lets it slip to everyone (without asking me if the time is right) that we’re engaged. This isn’t our celebration. We’re there to celebrate something else…someone else, and the crowd goes silent at this guy’s nerve to ruin the day for others.

If you hadn’t guessed it, these are just some of the things I’ve been dreaming lately. Recently my dreams have been more frequent and seemed a lot clearer. Different somehow. I wonder if a recently started medication has done this. It’s only been since start of summer and here we are at the mid point.

Summertime is half way over, and I have been making it all about my writing.. Really, June was my month for new experiences and fun times I won’t soon forget. Then the really hot temperatures arrive and I sort of hibernate inside my house.

Sure, I’m sitting inside with my laptop, instead of making the most of this warm July weather. Though, I prefer fall. I know most people think me strange for this.

The summer maybe means less to me now because it’s no longer my summer holidays, off from school. Still, the heat gives me headaches, humidity causing me to become slow and foggy, in limbs and head. I make great use of AC and only go out for small bouts of summertime.

I do enjoy hearing the sounds of families walking together passed my house, the noises of the new family out playing together who just moved in across the street. This makes me happy for summer.

I’ve been doing yoga to calm my troubled mind.

Both my nephews were born in the summer and for that I celebrate.

Camping and sitting by the fire, roasting marshmallows. Days at the beach. Pool parties. Baseball. BBQs and ice cream.

Writing isn’t normally on that list of summer fun, but I have been working hard at it, at making some of my dreams come true. I should have three or four pieces out by the time summer comes to an end.

Was it worth missing out on all that?

Well, the summer is not over yet.

Summertime sweet memories made
with Kristi of Finding Ninee for this week’s Finish the Sentence Friday.

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TToT: Short and Sweet, Here and Gone #10Thankful

I never get these in on Friday. Never. Despite my best intentions, it just never happens, until now that is.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful I can go for ice cream with my family.

We have a favourite place here and I thought about what it means to be able to enjoy such a simple pleasure and summer pastime, without fearing for our lives.

In Kabul this week that was not the case. How could someone plant a bomb at such a place, where families with their children gathered? How?

I’m thankful for a new friend who has a big heart and loves to help other writers, specifically women, to work to be our true selves.

Rebirth the Heroine

I recently liked the quote about being the heroine of my own story and this fits perfectly with the message in this video. I could use her peaceful voice and reassurances right now, in the midst of what is a pretty important month for me. (More on that next week.)

I am thankful the zip lining adventure has been officially booked.

We are ten or more. That means we get the discount. Wooooo! Five dollars off each ticket is five dollars. Better than nothing.

I just need to find out if they will allow my brother to photograph anything close to where the zip lining is. I hope to write a piece and use his photos in the newsletter for The Kidney Foundation of Canada. They may want you to buy their pricy souvenir photos though. I can do that too.

Maybe if I tell WildPlay Niagara I am a writer and doing a piece to be published and my brother is a professional photographer.

Cross your fingers.

I’m thankful for a doctor who has a family member with headaches.

Well, allow me to rephrase…I am not glad about the headache thing.

I mean that she seems to understand pain, as she lives with and loves someone who deals with it. This may be why she is as compassionate and empathetic as she is.

She is trying me on a new med because this one hasn’t helped one bit. I have high hopes for the next one.

I’m thankful for an invite to a lovely dinner as a guest of
The Writers’ Union of Canada
by the local members.

I was the youngest one there, but that’s okay. They were all so friendly and I feel I could learn a lot from them.

I probably can’t go back, as the rules are pretty strict and you must be a member, but I am not sure I qualify yet.

Either way, I was happy to be a guest that one time and I had some great conversations, ate some delicious food, and maybe I even made a few future connections. We’ll see.

I’m thankful for a friend who is speaking her mind for the causes important to her and which deserve more attention.

Sweatpants & Equality – Activism Is A Movement & A Practice — Not A Moment By Kerra Bolton

Feeling helpless gets old real fast. Some people find a way to act. Kerra is one of those people. She is strong and determined and I am happy we met. I look forward to reading her words in Sweatpants & Coffee in the future. Give this one a read though.

I am thankful Canada is vowing to move ahead with our promise devoted to the environment.

I don’t understand people and I will never understand 45 and the things he does. I don’t know when enough will be enough.

I don’t pretend to understand everything about the goals set out in the Accord, but I trust in what it stands for and am honoured to be one of almost all countries of the world working to protect the planet together.

I am thankful for another chat with my neighbour.

We could sit on her deck this time.

I love her vow to find peace in her life. She did something about her unhappiness and made a change. I admire her for that. I am glad she did and we can be neighbours.

She even said she will let my dog be leashed and hang out on her deck this summer. Whenever I go away I have to lock him in my entranceway and he barks a lot. She will have a key and can bring him out with her those days, so he won’t have to be alone and she won’t have to listen to him making all that racket.

I am thankful I am off to somewhere I’ve never been.

That is why I am getting this post in early. I will be back in a week’s time and I will have a TToT post in me, all about my trip to share.

I am thankful for some time with my nephew and niece.

With the brutal attacks, more this week, bombings in Baghdad and Kabul, I was feeling anxious and sad.

I sat with my almost five-year-old nephew, in the back of their new van like we used to do as kids in ours, with the hatch wide open to the driveway, where my dad (Grandpa) swept. Reed and I talked about colours, he got a juice box for both of us, and I relaxed for the first time in days.

Then I had a peaceful moment with Mya in my lap, as she stopped crying for her mom for a minute as I called to find out if she was coming to pick her up soon. She stopped crying, suddenly, and we just sat there together.

I kept thinking about Louis Armstrong and his famous song:

What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

“I hear babies cry. I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more, than I’ll ever know. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”

—Louis Armstrong

I am now off to experience that world, the part that makes it as wonderful as Armstrong sings about that is.

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Only When I Breathe #SongLyricSunday

How can I put this? How can I possibly make people understand how it feels?

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I struggled with these kinds of questions for many years. Pain can be physical or emotional. Both, I know now, are comparable.

This song is not her biggest hit. I’d say Melissa Etheridge was at the top of her game in the nineties, but this one came out a few years after I’d started experiencing daily pain around the year 2000, from either headaches or somewhere in the rest of my body, mostly my limbs, but really a sensitivity to the touch.

This song was likely about emotional pain, which most songs are about, but by this time Melissa probably experienced both, within relationships or physically because of the breast cancer she was diagnosed with.

***

I, played the fool today
I just dream of vanishing into the crowd
Longing for home again
Home, is a feeling I buried in you
I’m alright, I’m alright
It only hurts when I breathe
And I can’t ask for things to be still again
No I can’t ask if I could walk through the world, in your eyes
Longing for home again
Home, is a feeling I buried in you
I’m alright, I’m alright
It only hurts when I breathe
I’m alright, I’m alright
It only hurts when I breathe
My window through which nothing hides And everything sees
I’m counting the signs and cursing the miles in between
Home
Home, is a feeling I buried in you, that I buried in you
I’m alright, I’m alright
It only hurts when I breathe
I’m alright, I’m alright
It only hurts when I breathe, when I breathe
Yeah, it only hurts when I breathe, when I breathe
Oh,it only hurts when I breathe

LYRICS

***

It’s hard to make people understand. We all experience emotional pain from loss of a loved one or other family troubles. Love ends. People leave.

Most of us get a headache or the flu or a broken bone at some point in our lives. I know that child birth can be painful, not from personal experience but from those who have felt it, but I know that pain fades because of the reward for it in the existence of a precious child. Most acute pain fades from our memory as time passes.

It’s chronic pain that is hard to explain because most people, like the thought of living life as a blind person, can’t or don’t want to think too hard about it, don’t want to imagine that happening to them, but living with chronic pain changes you. It’s changed me.

The awful pain scale is a familiar way to help people understand, but pain is subjective and one’s ten is another’s seven. If ten is the worst pain you’ve ever experienced, what was that worst pain? Everyone has had such varied experiences with pain that it makes it hard to rate sufficiently.

Stabbing…throbbing…dull…sharp…pounding…and so on and so forth.

I’ve only found a few people in my life who truly understood it. One of them is gone, so I am greatly familiar with both emotional and physical pain from many sources.

I decided this
Song Lyric Sunday
I would focus more on the physical side, as I’ve written plenty on emotional pain already.

I don’t talk a lot about living with chronic pain, here or elsewhere, because I don’t believe people truly want to hear about it too often. This song brings it up in the chorus though, as saying “it only hurts when I breathe.” While coming off sounding dramatic, this one line certainly gets the point across.

Don’t get me wrong, I love breathing, but I could do without the pain.

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IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Special Occasions, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, Travel, TToT

TToT: Cherry Blossoms, Bluebonnets, and Clover Leaves # March Madness, #10Thankful

Stella! … Stella!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjHr-6Zl5P8

Okay, well if you aren’t already familiar with the play
A Streetcar Named Desire,
perhaps you won’t get my joke. I’m referring to the big “winter storm” in the eastern United States and here in Ontario and into Quebec and the Maritimes.

First it was the winter storm Stella and now it’s the Spring Equinox and first day of spring.

St. Patrick’s Day. World Happiness Day.

Either you’re drinking massive amounts of green beer or the day passes and you don’t do a single Irish thing, but you can’t help hearing about it. It’s the same with a day we are told to be happy.

World Happiness Day 2017: ticket to joy or time to ditch the smily face?

All these days.

Ten Things of Thankkful

I am thankful for snow in winter.

I like and appreciate it, during its season, but it is cold and I do happily move on from it by March/April.

I am thankful for flowers and birds and baby animals in spring.

Last year, I started off one of my TToT posts with some background about cherry blossoms, but today I am including a few others in this week’s title.

I can’t see them and their colours, but I am often obsessed with flowers, especially cherry blossoms at this time of year. I don’t know why those specifically.

Then I watched the new Anne of Green Gables series on CBC last night and there is a part where a cherry tree is featured.

If you know those books, Anne spots one when she first arrives off the train, before she meets Mathew and Marilla for the first time. She imagines climbing it and sleeping up in it if nobody had come to pick her up that day.

The blossoms are mentioned more throughout this newly updated version, and I took that as a sign of sorts, that spring has sprung.

I am thankful for anything Irish.

Don’t take my word for it. Don’t just drink some green beer. Visit Ireland and see it for yourself.

It was one of the best spur-of-the-moment decisions I’ve ever made. I don’t regret it and neither would you.

That’s why, whenever March 17th rolls around, though I love the music (like what Ed has done in the song above, anything else can’t quite live up to the real thing.

I am thankful to be working on a new piece which should be published in one week.

I am thankful the editor informed me of the stock photo she thought about including with my piece before simply going ahead and using it, without my knowledge.

It was a photo of a girl with her eyes closed. Part of what I do regularly is to educate people on what’s acceptable and what isn’t. I wish, sometimes, I didn’t have to do this. I wish people could understand without me having to explain it.

This may sound like I’m being self righteous about this kind of thing, but even if a girl with her eyes closed may say, right away to readers, “this woman can’t see,” it feels highly stereotypical and won’t help progress with people’s understanding and acceptance of those of us with disabilities.

Touching Life

I am thankful for the feeling of my baby niece’s soft head under my chin as I held her against my chest.

I held her while she slept. She has so much hair and it is so lovely.

I am thankful for her ability to already raise her head by herself.

I held her while her oma warmed up her bottle and I couldn’t believe how strong she already is. She will be one month old this week.

I am thankful for my four-year-old nephew reading his books to me.

Okay, so he didn’t so much read as explain about his favourite dinosaurs, but he did spell out “L i t t l e” on the sign as we were picking up a pizza.

So, he’s on his way. I try to explain to him that I can’t read his library book to him because my eyes don’t work. His response still is “my eyes work” as a way of comparing or reassuring himself or maybe just to inform me. I’m not sure, but, If I’m going to have a bonus thankful this week, it’s that his eyes do, indeed, work.

I am thankful when one of my really bad headaches subsides.

I am thankful for a doctor who understands when I can’t make it to my previously scheduled appointment, do to said awful headache, and their ability there to reschedule so soon.

I am particularly upset when I hear all the talk, south of the border, here in Canada, of U.S. healthcare. I want the kind of care I get, for every person who has lived with awful headaches, needed major surgery, been diagnosed with a chronic or terminal disease or illness, or who lives with a disability to not worry about not being covered or having to pay giant medical bills.

People in Canada complain about long wait times, convince themselves that our neighbours have the better options for medical treatments, and some may have terrible experiences with Canada’s healthcare system. All I know is my own experience and that of my family.

Healthcare shouldn’t be about insurance companies, deductibles, premiums, and whatever else I keep hearing, is all I hear when I hear the debates going on in the U.S. They talk of consumerism and shopping for the best health plans. Healthcare isn’t about shopping, even if so much of our society is all about consumerism. This is, in some cases, about life and death. It’s about feeling unwell or being able to be happy for more than only one day a year.

Ugh! It all gets me so fired up honestly, because I know what it’s like to need my country’s medical system. I have disability and medical conditions I depend on being treated for. I am lucky here. I hate how too much of the world still doesn’t get it.

It was a week where I could care less about the actual March Madness, as I am no basketball fan, but…as for some other madness:

The Tyranny of Now

It’s precisely why I need to count my blessings and why everything on my list today is needed more than ever and deserves the recognition in my own life.

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inside Out, #SoCS

Almost Halloween and it made my day to receive happy updates on my phone of my friend and her little girl, who is enjoying pumpkins and so many other new experiences, this being her second Halloween and first to really begin the fun of the holiday.

This is just a small thing, but a big big thing really, that makes my day better, set against a backdrop of chaos and endless information.

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So much else goes through my head and my mind. It’s like that line parents and elders often find themselves speaking about children and the younger generation: “everything I say to them just seems to go in one ear and out the other, like they aren’t even listening”.

In one ear and out the other.

Are we listening?

So much in the news and going on in the world, so much info for me to hear, that I can’t possibly retain everything that comes across my path.

Lately I’ve felt like I can’t live up to the things I’m attempting, for some people, as if I’m not getting it fast enough or in the time they’ve allowed in their own heads, so I may not be getting the hang of it and, to some, should maybe just throw in the towel.

Perhaps this is all mostly going on inside my mind. Maybe it’s not that bad. It could be that they don’t think this at all. But I feel it, from them or from myself, or a little of both.

I try to block out all other things when I am in that practice room. For one hour I don’t let myself think or worry or fret over anything else that would otherwise dog my every waking thought. None of that when I am with my violin and while I have the undivided attention from the one who knows it and is trying to teach me.

I focus so hard on her words and her instructions, on the notes and the strings and the proper techniques, so hard that my mind aches. It’s not just the headaches or the usual body pains I feel, but rather my mind physically stretching to try and accommodate these new things. Sometimes, I feel I hear and understand her so clearly, but other times I fear her wisdom goes in one ear and out the other with me. I fear I’ve just wasted an entire sixty minutes of her precious time.

I wonder how much more would weigh me down if I could see, so those things that went in one of my ears and out the other, straight through my often swirling brain, would have to keep up with what my eyes were also taking in.

I can’t say how that would work. I may never know.

I just want to think of the stories surrounding Halloween as fun and games, but I think of ghosts and those who are no longer hear. I think of the world we’re facing in the glaring absence of those people.

I think of pipelines. I think of refugee crisis stories. These are real lives and people debate them as if they were theories taught in a classroom somewhere. I think of what I just saw on a news documentary, about the famous family because some of it’s members didn’t survive the boat trip. Canada is home to some of them now. Iraq is home to others, who can’t bear to be away from where their loved ones are buried. I think of the fight going on in Iraq and Syria still. Will families who’ve had to flee for their lives ever get to return home again?

Will the wild war of words and opinions and so much more in the US ever settle down? Will Canadian government live up to all their campaign promises? Does any government?

Questions which I come to on my own and those that I hear and learn about, I take them in, even if I think of that Halloween episode on The Simpsons when Bart is attacked by the little people Lisa invented in a plastic tub, which come upon him in the night, shooting in through his one ear and going through his brain and out the other.

I saw this image so clearly when it first aired back in 1998, but now exists only in my memory.

Do we hear today’s real issues? Do they make an impression? Do they touch us? Do they cause us to stand up and act? Or are we so used to hearing so much that it all just flies in one ear and out the other?

All these things turn my insides out on a daily basis. I must focus on creating things. Art. Beautiful music and words and building things that didn’t exist before.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Poetry, Song Lyric Sunday

Head In My Hands, #SongLyricSunday

In high school English class, I had to write a poem about my life and something that was happening in it. I wish I were able to find that poem now.

I called it “Vice Grip” like the actual piece of equipment, but I turned it into a metaphor for life, but mostly for the physical headaches I’d begun experiencing.

It felt like a vice grip were squeezing my head so so tightly in its grasp. It felt like so much pressure, like life a lot of the time.

I put my head in my hands and sighed. I still do sometimes. Life is feeling caught a lot of the time. It’s hard for me not to think of where I was a year ago…two years…five…ten and wonder, to look back instead of looking ahead. At least, with the past, I know what happened, even if I don’t know why. With the future, the trouble with looking ahead, is that it is so wide open. This can be exciting, but it can also feel like an incredible, squeezing pressure.

As for the present…

Cw3hJYa.jpg

Lines like:

“When it hurts this good you gotta play it twice.”

“Waiting on me, where the numb meets the lonely. It’s gone before it ever meets the ice. Another vice.”

And,

“Maybe I’m addicted to goodbyes”

Vice – Miranda Lambert

I thought this song probably spoke of the struggles and the pain Miranda Lambert had with a very public breakup from her country star husband.

So many people have a vice, at least one. Whether they drink their pain away, or they just move from relationship to relationship in order to avoid real commitment, that’s still a vice, is it not?

Vice like a crutch. We hold on. We fight. Vice like a grip that holds us tight.

(That’s right…I can write poetry and lyrics too, on occasion.”

🙂

😉

😦

***

Stay as a needle dropping on a vinyl
Neon singer with a jukebox title full of heartbreak
When it hurts this good you gotta play it twice
Another vice
All dressed up in a pretty black label
Sweet salvation on a dining room table
Waiting on me
Where the numb meets the lonely
It’s gone before it ever melts the ice
Another vice
Another call, another bed I shouldn’t crawl out of
At 7AM with shoes in my hand
Said I wouldn’t do it, but I did it again
And I know I’ll be back tomorrow night, oh
I’ll wear a tail like a leather jacket
When the new wears off, I don’t even pack it
If you need me
I’ll be where my reputation don’t precede me
Maybe I’m addicted to goodbyes
Another vice
Another town, where my past can’t run me down
Another life, another call, another bed I shouldn’t crawl out of
At 7AM with shoes in my hand
Said I wouldn’t do it, but I did it again
And I know I’ll be gone tomorrow night
Mmm, another vice
Standing at the sink now, looking at the mirror
Don’t know where I am or how I got here
Well the only thing that I know how to find
Is another vice
Mmm another vice
Yes, another vice
Ooh, another vice
Another vice
Another vice
Another vice

***

So there they are and here they are.

Vice Lyrics

It’s as good a time as any,

Song Lyric Sunday, #SongLyricSunday

to share that I am very much not a fan of country music, but this song was one of the several exceptions I’ve made.

I like country music that isn’t too obviously country music. I hope that means I can be met halfway and that I keep a somewhat open mind to things, musical and otherwise.

When I just happened to hear Miranda Lambert’s “Vice” for the first time last night, I thought it would be the perfect song to share here with others. I don’t often end up listening to Miranda Lambert’s music.

I try to keep an open mind, specifically when it comes to music, so I find influences from all sorts of places.

What genre of music is your last resort when you’re looking for something to listen to? What artist, band, or group? What can’t you stand? Is it important to give it a chance wherever possible?

I try, anyway.

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